Sunday, October 4, 2009

To Mow or Not to Mow: A Neighborhood Intervention

One of the different things about living in the ‘burbs is that even when there’s space between you and your neighbors, that space quickly decreases as they get to know you. Our neighbors decreased that space overnight when on our first day they dragged us over to their yard and plied us with beer and gave us the neighborhood gossip. Everyone seemed cool enough, even if what they knew about the other neighbors was slightly off-putting.

So a week after we moved in, we were preparing my new home office. I had unwittingly chosen the one room in the house that didn’t have cable or phone jacks. Fortunately, I married an electrician. A patient electrician willing to spend a Saturday in June in the attic hooking and unhooking wires and whatever it is he does that gives me the magical box that brings me the Internet and means I don’t have to go into the office anymore.

It took about three hours, but we were in the home stretch and all Scott had to do was go outside and hook up the last few wires. He looked like a sweaty yeti – completely covered head to toe in dirt and insulation from the attic. After about 10 minutes, I started to get nervous. I was supposed to yell to him when the little light came on, but no light was coming on. And it was only supposed to take a minute or two. As I am about to go outside and make sure he hasn’t inadvertently crossed wires or done something else to electrocute himself, he comes walking in looking…weird. I’m not sure how to describe the look, except it was a combination of perplexed and bemused…we’ll call it “permused.”

He recounts this exchange with our neighbor, who we will call Mrs. Dietz in honor of October and one of my favorite ghost movies, Beetlejuice:

Mrs. Dietz: Hey, Scott, how are things going?
Scott: Oh, well, pretty good. Just hooking up Stephanie’s office. Been in the attic all day [points to his insulation-covered body].
Mrs. Dietz: Yeah, it’s a nice day to mow the lawn.

I must be giving the same permused look to Scott because he shrugs and says “exactly!” But, wait there’s more!

Scott: Yeah, I have to go get my mom’s mower, actually. I got one from my uncle but it’s broken so….
Mrs. Dietz: You should borrow ours, it’s no problem.
Scott: [looking at his watch and brushing insulation off his clothing to indicate he has zero intention of spending what is left of his day mowing his lawn] Maybe I’ll do that, take you up on that tomorrow.
Mrs. Dietz: Oh…tomorrow. Well, yeah, only we’re going out of town at 9 in the morning.
Scott: Oh, oh well.

So that’s how he left it and we’re both obsessing about it the rest of the night. On one hand, I was thinking it’s ballsy to say that to someone who clearly has been busy doing home repairs all day, while at the same time I was also slightly embarrassed. We’d been told at the neighborhood drinking party that prior to us buying our house out of foreclosure, there were years of renters who were less than concerned about the upkeep of the house. And to say our neighbors are super concerned about their property and anything within 1,000 feet of it (trust me, more stories to come on that) is a bit of an understatement so I wasn’t fond of us becoming the ugly yard house right out of the gate. But nor was I going to make my husband go out in 90-degree weather to mow after he’d spent the entire week doing repairs while I decorated.

So we both agreed that we would just let it go and get his mom’s mower the next day and mow the lawn and everyone would be happy.

8:55 the next morning the doorbell rings. Scott and I are still in bed after a late night of hooking up the rest of the office and celebrating my new work at home status with some beer and pizza. We look at each other and both whisper “NO WAY!”

Way. There, standing at our door at five minutes until 9 a.m. is Mrs. Dietz. With her lawnmower. Totally sweetly saying “return it anytime!” With that, she and her family took off and Scott got dressed to mow our lawn for the first time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AHAHAHAH!!!!! Gott love nieghbors..